Smoak rejoins Mariners as Carp heads to DL

Smoak rejoins Mariners as Carp heads to DL

Smoak rejoins Mariners as Carp heads to DL
SEATTLE -- Justin Smoak was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to figure out his swing. Twenty games later, the Mariners will find out if the first baseman has found his stroke.

Smoak was recalled prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays to take the roster spot of Mike Carp, who has landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin muscle.

Smoak started the season with the Mariners as the primary first baseman, but was optioned to Tacoma on July 23 after struggling at the plate. In 90 games with the Mariners, Smoak is hitting .189 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs. He said he worked on shortening his swing while with Tacoma, especially from the left side of the plate, the less-natural side for the switch-hitter.

"Everybody is trying to get everything right, day in and day out, but I had some time down there, wasn't really looking at stats, it's was more of just trying to get it to where I feel comfortable," said Smoak, who hit .242 in Tacoma. "Still a work in progress, but this past couple weeks is probably the best I've felt in a long time."

Said Mariners manager Eric Wedge: "High character guy, good teammate, does all the things you like to see a championship player do, but it was about being more consistent with his swing, being a little bit shorter to the baseball, being able to repeat that swing more.

"You saw it fairly consistently in BP, you didn't see very consistently in games, so hopefully we'll see a little bit more of that in game."

Smoak said his time away from the big league level was good, because it gave him a chance to figure out a daily routine, something he hasn't been able to do during his professional career. A regular routine will help contribute to a steady mindset for each at-bat, which Wedge believes is important.

"I feel like he's done a better job with that, but hey, when you put it together, a consistent approach in regard to your mindset, as you're standing up there doing some things fundamentally more consistently, then you've got something," Wedge said.

Smoak becomes the only first baseman on the Mariners roster with Carp on the DL. This is Carp's third stint on the DL this season after two previous trips due to a right shoulder injury. Carp injured his groin while stretching to receive a throw in the fifth inning of Sunday's game in Anaheim.

Carp is hitting .206 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 49 games with the Mariners this season, but had heated up as of late. In his last 15 games, Carp was hitting .308 with three doubles and a home run.